(Photo: Lockheed Martin)
The Air Force announced this week that Luke Air Force Base in Arizona will receive 72 additional F-35 Lightning II fighters for pilot training, beginning in 2014.
The additional aircraft will bring the total number of F-35s at Luke AFB to 144. All F-35 pilots, including foreign pilots from partner countries, will be trained at either Luke or Eglin AFB; Luke also currently serves as a pilot training center for F-16s.
According to coverage in the Air Force Times:
"Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said that while he was happy the Air Force selected the base for training, he was “cautiously optimistic” about the health of the F-35 program.
“I urge [F-35 program head Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan] and the Department of Defense to demand excellence from the Air Force and the contractor to ensure that this critical program builds on recent contracting, technical and manufacturing progress,” McCain said in a June 27 statement."